Pittsburgh, PA Ice Gorge, Feb 1881

PITTSBURG, Feb. 10.---The ice in the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, which has caused much anxiety to river men, broke up early this morning, and has been moving southward all day. The damage is much below what was anticipated. The big gorge in pool No.1, in the Monongahela, broke loose a crash about 3 A. M., and carried away several barges filled with coal, many empty ones, and damaged the tipples and docks at the coal works. The heaviest losers are Brown & Co., who lost ten barges, &c., valued at $7,000; Joseph Walten, barges $8,000; Munhall & Co., tipple, $5,000; Lynch & Robinson, barges, $5,000; O'Neil & Co., barges, $5,000. Many other coal operators are small losers. Dam No.1, 150 feet of which was swept away Tuesday, is in a precarious condition. Some are inclined to the belief that when the flood subsides, only the foundations of the dam will be found. There are 28 feet of water in the channel, and the top of the dam is 12 feet below its surface. Should the dam be swept away, the loss will be very heavy, alike to the Monongahela Navigation Company and the river interests. Outside of the damage to the dam, the loss thus far by the ice is estimated at $30,000.

At Freeport on the Allegheny there was a gorge 28 feet high and several miles long. This broke in the morning, but did little damage, although the town was partially submerged. After this gorge broke, the Kiskiminetas ice followed, sweeping everything before it, including the iron bridge at Apollo and Swain's lumber mill. The loss on the latter is $12,000. At Kittanning the only damage done was the tearing away of some water and gas pipes, which makes necessary a stoppage of the large rolling-mill at that point. A portion of the ice in the Clarion River had slipped out, taking with it a bridge at Millville. JOHN METZGAR, a wealthy lumberman, while trying to save some valuable timber at the mouth of Pine Creek, was drowned. Trouble is expected at Clarion, 25 miles from the mouth of the Clarion River. A large quantity of lumber is stored here. People residing near the Clarion are abandoning their houses. So far as can be ascertained, the ice is fast at head-waters and upper tributaries. The Allegheny has been frozen ever since early last November, and the ice is very heavy. As there was very little craft in this stream, the damage at this point so far is very light. There are 25 feet of water in the channel here and rising slowly. River men believe the old Allegheny will make music before its water subside. Sewers in the lower parts of the city are flooded, and the fires of several manufactories have been put out. The engine-room of the Morning Times office is submerged. The lower portion of Allegheny City is under water, furniture is floating about the first floors of dwellings two squares distant from the river bank, at this hour, midnight.

The New York Times, New York, NY 11 Feb 1881

History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1889 Read it online

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania : personal and genealogical, with portraits Read it online

History of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania 1886 Read it online

Allegheny County : a sesqui-centennial review 1938 Read it online

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